Monday, December 28, 2015

I'm still alive‏

So I haven't written a group e-mail in 3 weeks. I was very firmly chastised during my call home this week. I have now repented and will get better at e-mailing weekly.

Here are some of the things that have happened in the past 3 weeks, the good and the bad.

-We had a zone activity. We made gingerbread houses and had a white elephant gift exchange. It was more enjoyable than expected. The highlight was definitely Elder Bishop opening the dried sardines from Hermana Austin.

-Our entire district has been sick pretty much the entire transfer. First Elder Moncayo, then elder Grisham and then me, all with a stomach bug and just when we thought we were all over that Hermana Austin, Elder Moncayo and Elder Grisham all got colds. Now we all are healthy, but Elder Moncayo and Elder Grisham have cut thumbs and Hermana Austin has a cut wrist. These things always come in threes.

-Sabrina (our progressing investigator) had her baby! He is adorable and sweet, and sleeps really well so we can still have lessons. Now we are helping her prepare for her baptism in January.

-We had a really fun service activity. We helped make packages of food out of the food that stores can't sell anymore. It did include a lot of sorting through rotten fruit, which was a lot more enjoyable than you might think. At the end they also gave us all bunches of flowers to say thank you which really brightens up the apartment.

-There was the mission Christmas party. There was a program with each of the zones singing a song that corresponded to parts of the nativity story. They got really creative. There was also a testimony meeting, a dinner and 6 piñatas to finish off the day. It was a party.

-Elder Grisham has been having some serious bike troubles. 2 weeks ago he got hit by a car. He's fine, but the bike is ruined. So please please, if you drive please keep your eyes out for cyclists. They
could be a missionary.

-We had exchanges. I stayed in area this time with Hermana Evanson. We had a great day. The work was good and we taught a ton of lessons. Then we ended the night by going caroling with some members of the Ward and making tamales. It was super fun.

-Today for p-day we visited a really cool place called the Huntington. It is a park with gardens and a library and art gallery. I highly recommend visiting it if you ever are in Pasadena.

-The biggest thing of course was Christmas. There were so many things I loved about it, the meals of pozole and tamales alongside the meals of ham and potatoes; seeing Sister Xia's joy as she opened presents for the first time on Christmas morning; a Dodgers bobble head from Elder Moncayo; calling home and talking to my family; and writing a talk for my home Ward. But probably my favorite part was the few quiet moments I took on Christmas Eve. Hermana Austin had already dozed off but it wasn't quite 10:30 yet so I took a few moments to read the Christmas story in the scriptures. I started in Isaiah with the prophesies of Christ's birth and finished in Luke 2 with the baby being taken to the temple. During that time I pondered about my Savior.  I testify that He was born all those years ago in a small town, and because of that we can all be born again. I testify that because of His death and resurrection we can now all live on after death. Because of Him we can always change and always move past our mistakes and failings. I am so blest to right now be a missionary and bring the same message that the angles brought to shepherds so long ago. "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

I hope as always this e-mail finds you well. ¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo!

Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas

Anna hasn't written much lately, so here are some pictures she sent instead:

and a zone activity...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

¡Estoy muy agradecida!‏

Since this week was Thanksgiving, I figured I would list a few of the things that I was so very grateful for this week.

1. Crunchy leaves; there are a few streets in our area that have the type of trees that drop their leaves. It makes me feel like I'm still living in a place with seasons and that they are changing. Plus I just
love leaves.

2. Single sisters, recent converts, Ward mission leaders old and new, part member families and investigators; these were all the people who decided that the missionaries were starving and needed to be fed on Thanksgiving. Fortunately for us we were only able to make it to 2.5 of the invitations (The last one was to go). It was still super sweet to see the care that these people had for us and that they wanted to include us with their own families during this holiday.

3. Ties; well specifically ties on recent converts. There has been a recent convert we have been working with and we had started to despair of ever getting him to church on time let alone there in a white shirt and tie. But then this week not only was he there before we were, but he was dressed in his Sunday best! It was just a small reminder of the changes for good that people go through as they learn about the gospel and make covenants.

4.  Leftovers; one of the people who we couldn't make it to on Thanksgiving instead invited us over for leftovers on Saturday. She is a super sweet girl named Sabrina who has been investigating the church now for about a year. This dinner was special because we were able to finally set a baptism date with her! We are now just waiting for her to have a baby, and then she can get baptized! We are all so excited!

5. Twenty Questions; because sometimes the sister missionaries get put in charge of primary classes at the last minute and need time killers. Fortunately they all loved the game. I suppose I'm also grateful to my mom for teaching me that trick.

6. New church videos;

7. My dear sweet companion; Face throwing a kissFace throwing a kissVictory hand bc I'm super cool lol #companionsloveandsupporteachother

8. The opportunity to be a missionary right here right now;

Much love and prayers to all of you!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

When you are in the service of your fellow beings...‏

I don't have much time to write this week so here are some pictures
from an activity we did on Saturday. We spent the whole day visiting
various families in the Ward and doing service for them with the
Elders. It was a blast!
                At the first place we were helping them paint their kitchen and tie blankets.

 Next we cleaned up a yard, and then continued on to see other members.
We did get fed, though we insisted on helping heat up the tortillas and washing the dishes.
The city lights from Montebello Blvd on the way home. Talk about a beautiful city.

After a long day all we wanted to do was fall straight into bed,
but we had to wait for transfer calls. And we waited and waited and waited but the call never came, which means that Hermana Austin and I are staying together here in San Gabriel for another transfer. Woo hoo!

Here's to a great 6 weeks!
Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, November 16, 2015

A long week‏

This is just going to be a quick e-mail because I'm running low on time. This was a super long week. We were working long and hard every day. We did have a couple of fun experiences though. The first one was that out mission president came to our district meeting this week. I've probably said it before, but I love that man! It was so cool to have him there to learn from, and to hear about all
of his stories. It really gave us the boost we needed to keep trying throughout the rest of the week.

We also ran into a lot of fun dogs this week. To sum it all up we met 3 rats a squeaky toy and a mop. The three rats belong to a member, the squeaky toy was a German Shepherd who squeaked when he barked, but wouldn't let us into the yard, and the mop was a lost dog who was wandering about the church.

This was a really good week and I wish I had more time to write about it. Next week I will have all sorts of fun news because transfers are coming! Ahhhhhhh!

With much love and prayers,
Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, November 9, 2015

This district's on fire!‏

This week we had a zone meeting about setting the mission on fire, and how we can do it. We had some of our standards of excellence changed (the goals we try to reach each week) and were also taught how we can improve in other ways. It was a super good meeting and we all left super inspired to go out and do the work.

And this district has been on fire! We are picking up new investigators like crazy, contacting a lot more, and have a lot more possibilities for baptisms in the coming weeks, and that's just my companion and I. The Elders have also been working super hard. They have been contacting up a storm and bringing members with them on almost all of their lessons. They also had a ton of investigators at church this week. It is so cool to see all of ours and their hard work paying off.

Though the district is on fire the temperatures have not been. On Tuesday the temperature plummeted with the sun and caught my companion and I completely unprepared. We were just leaving a lesson when we walked outside in our thin short sleeved shirts to realize we still had a 45 minute bike ride between us and our warm house. Outside there were a couple of cholos (Mexican gangsters) smoking. It was super funny because they offered to find us sweaters to wear home. We had to turn them down though. We decided a long cold ride was better than a long warm one in borrowed jackets that smelled like weed. When we got home my companion instantly curled up into a ball on her bed under about 3 blankets. I made us both hot chocolate and then nudged her into a somewhat upright position so we could plan. We have since learned to just carry a jacket around with us all day. We also have been succumbing to Starbucks hot chocolate more and more often on our ride home.

One last fun experience. Hermana Austin and I usually bring a sack lunch to eat after church. This week we decided to invite the elders to eat with us. We figured that they would just bring their little
sack lunches, but instead they decided to pack a whole picnic. They brought spaghetti, carne, rice and beans, with chicken instead of carne for me, and 3 enchiladas. We were in charge of dessert so it was
apples and Carmel dip, Holloween bunny grams and granola bars. In the words of Elder Moncayo "we all ate real good."

As always I hope this e-mail finds all of you well. Thank you for all of the love and support.
Hermana Anna Christensen

And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people,
and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
Mosiah 18:8

Y aconteció que les dijo: He aquí las aguas de Mormón (porque así se llamaban); y ya que deseáis entrar en el redil de Dios y ser llamados su pueblo, y estáis dispuestos a llevar las cargas los unos de los otros para que sean ligeras;
Mosíah 18:8

                               Alejandro, a recent convert who got the priesthood yesterday!

                                               My district eating our feast after church.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Good week for the work, bad week for the bikes‏

Sorry about no group e-mail last week, it didn't send and then I didn't have enough time to send it again. The most important thing that happened was that I'm no longer in a trio! We got a call from the
assistants to the president on Tuesday telling us that Hermana Escalante was being sent to English work. We were all super sad, but that's where she is needed most right now, so Hermana Austin and I are flying solo here.

The good thing is that the work is really starting to pick up. We had two sisters, Sandra and Elizabeth tell us that they both want to be baptized and that they are willing to do what's necessary to get there. They need to work out a few things, and come back to church a few times, but other than that they are so ready! Further updates on them as they come.

We have also been doing a lot of work with our recent converts. We have two, Alejandro and Jorge who are super solid. Alejandro was interviewed this last week to receive the priesthood, and he recently just went out and bought all new church clothes. It is super cool to work with both of them and see how the gospel has helped both of them. On Wednesday at the Ward Halloween party, Alejandro wanted to hand out candy for the trunk or treat, but didn't have a car, so we set up our
bikes in a parking space and handed out candy with him. It was probably the best idea we have ever had, and we all had a ton of fun.

In what little time we've had left this week we've been either doing service or fixing bikes. Service wise we have done everything from helping a member prepare to go out and sell elotes and raspados, (corn on a cob on a stick, and something kind of like a snow cone but so much better) cleaned up yards and made sandwiches for homeless people and then helped pass them out. As for the bikes, 4 of the 5 bikes that have passed through this district have had problems. First I got a popped tire on Monday, then Hermana Austin got one on Tuesday, then on Wednesday Elder Moncayo got a broken axel on his mission bike that was quickly made worse, I the words of Elder Grisham, "they gave us the bike in 1 piece, we gave it back in 28." We made it through Thursday and Friday without incident, then on Saturday Elder Moncayo got a flat tire on his new bike. But it's all good, because the work of the Lord is still rolling forth here, even if it's on patched tubes.

I hope as always that this e-mail finds all of you well, and that you all had a safe and happy Halloween with lots of candy. Thank you for all of the love and support I receive, it means so much to me!
Hermana Anna Christensen

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Matthew 4:19

Y les dijo: Venid en pos de mí, y os haré pescadores de hombres.
Mateo 4:19
 From the back working forward, Elder Grisham, me, Hermana Austin, Hermana Ramos, Elder Moncayo, and Hugito at his birthday dinner
 We dressed up in the color schemes of Thor and Loki for Halloween so we took a couple of fun pictures.

                                            A Halloween selfie with the Chinese sisters
                            I just love this picture, even if Elder Moncayo is photo bombing me.

Monday, October 19, 2015

3 heads are better than 2?‏

Hello to all those not here in San Gabriel! It was a good week, long but good. It's been a lot of biking and trying to find people, and not a lot of teaching, but that's how things go in the mission. There are
waves where there are a ton of people to teach and so not much time for finding and then waves of not having a ton of people to teach and so most of the time being dedicated to finding. Right now we are solidly in finding mode.

Our efforts are beginning to pay off though. I'm contacting more than I have ever done. We have a goal of contacting at least 10 people daily. We've gotten pretty good at it, though some days it's still
hard. We also have met quite a few people who have showed interest in learning more. We are going through the area book and looking for anyone and everyone who has ever talked to missionaries before. Slowly this area is taking off. Or it will soon.

We're also learning how to work together as a trio as well. Teaching is interesting and we haven't completely gotten the hang of it yet. It's hard to balance during a lesson and making sure that we
transition smoothly and testify together. It will be fun to work out how to do it best, and to see what I will learn from this experience. It's also hard to figure out plans and who will lead and basically
everything. Syncing our iPads is also an experience. Eventually everyone gets all the information though and eventually we all get where we need to go.

There have been quite a few fun experiences though. Like the other day we were trying to find an investigator (no one was home) and a cat jumped at the window we were standing in front of. It was starting to get dark and for a moment it looked like a person. I found myself in between my two companions with both of them clinging to me in fear. Eventually we figured out it wasn't a person and were able to go on our merry way.

We also have fun living with a companionship of Chinese sisters. They love to feed us, either food they made or food that is given to them. So far everything has been really good. We've been given dumplings, some type of meatball and some sort of pasta. It is super good. We also have fun learning phrases in Chinese and teaching them phrases in Spanish. They are super cute and fun and kind.

We've had other fun experiences like visiting the local mission as a district (the 4th oldest in California) and then translating a Korean man's broken English into Spanish for another man who only spoke Spanish at a bike shop. We've dodged cars and semi's, and I've finally watched all the driving safety videos.

Basically I'm loving my new area. It was a little rough at first but it's gotten better. I'm super excited to see what things I'm here to learn and meet the people I'm here to meet.

I hope all is well wherever you all are at. I send out my love and my prayers. Thank you for all the love, support and prayers I get in return.

Nos vemos.
Hermana Anna Christensen

P.S. I'm going to start ending my e-mails with my ponderizing scripture in both English and Spanish. Enjoy!

And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? -2 Nephi 31:10

Y dijo a los hijos de los hombres: Seguidme. Por tanto, mis amados hermanos, ¿podemos seguir a Jesús, a menos que estemos dispuestos a
guardar los mandamientos del Padre? -2 Nefi 31:10

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Goodbye Rimgrove, Hello San Gabriel‏

 The matching shirts came from a sister in the ward, who bought them so the missionaries could sing for the stake choir.
 With the ward mission leader in Rimgrove Ward, He made carne asada, and Anna is starting to really like it.
 One more picture from the temple, with all the hermanas in Anna's district.

The transfers have come and gone, and I was the one chosen to leave the Rimgrove Ward. Now I'm in the San Gabriel Ward, with my new companions, Hermana Austin and Hermana Escalante. That's right I'm in a trio! It's a new experience for me, it will be fun to see what it's like. We live with 2 Chinese sisters, so it's a little more crowded than I'm used to, but it will be fun.

I'm sad to leave Rimgrove. I really learned to love the people there, and the area was just beginning to pick up. One of our investigators will be getting baptized next Sunday so it will be hard to miss that
but I made Hermana Diaz promise to e-mail me pictures. We also had just started meeting with some new investigators. Oh well. I left the area in good hands and I know that there is a reason I'm now in this area.

I don't really know what to say in this e-mail so I'll keep it pretty short. I'll let you all now how the area is going, how it is living with 4 other girls and all sorts of fun things. It's the start of a new adventure! I hope all is going well in all of your lives. Keep ponderizing!
Nos vemos,
Hermana Anna Christensen

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Una fiesta en el corazón‏

The subject line credit this week goes to a sweet little old lady we visited this week who got super excited when we told her that it wasGeneral Conference this weekend. That phrase was how she described it, una fiesta en el corazón. It also describes a lot of this week, not just conference.

To start out with we had some great lessons. One of our investigators, Jesús, is progressing wonderfully. He has a baptismal date and is moving towards it perfectly. We were also able to have his brother in law come to the lesson with him. It was super great because he bore a super strong testimony of the Holy Ghost and His importance. It was really good to have someone besides my companion and I telling Jesús why the gospel was important in his life.

We also got to go to the temple this morning. We went super early, for the 5:30 session in fact, but it was amazing because when we turned off the freeway the temple was straight on ahead and then you just drive straight up to the temple. It was all it up and looked so beautiful. It was a wonderful way to start out the morning.

Finally General Conference. I loved so many talks from it I can't pick a favorite. If you didn't get a chance to watch it go and do it! There is a talk for everyone there. Any favorites from anyone else? I would love to hear them. You could also share your thoughts on a scripture you are ponderizing. Mine is 2 Nephi 4:35. I would love to hear about your studies from all of you!

All in all it was a really really good week. I can't wait to see what transfers bring, and how my life will soon change. I hope the weather is cooler wherever you are at, and life continues to go smoothly for all of you. If there is ever anything that I could do for any of you please let me know!

Nos vemos,
Hermana Anna Christensen
Pictures: my district at the temple. The sun was in the worst place possible.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Somos hijas de un Padre Celestial que nos ama‏

This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to watch women's conference. For those of you who don't know what that is every April and October the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds a conference with speakers from all the leaders of the church. The Saturday before is a meeting called women's conference when the leaders of the Relief Society (the women's organization of the church)
the Young Women's program and the Primary (the children's organization) as well as a member of the first presidency speak to the women of the church ages 8 and up. It is a night of education and spiritual upliftment and it was exactly what I needed! I highly recommend President Uchtdorf's talk, for everyone not just women. It can be found on I believe, or very soon if it isn't already up. Or you can listen to the entire meeting as well. I'm also excited for this conference, not just for the revelation, but to see who will be filling the 3 vacancies in the Quorum of the 12. The conference
will be broadcasted on BYU tv, on the Internet and at stake centers starting at 10 mountain standard time on Saturday. I invite everyone, member and nonmember to tune in to at least one session. Those who will be speaking are incredible. Just think of it as watching a TED talk or two.

This was also a pretty good week for missionary work. We have a new investigator, Jesus, who is progressing so well! He is the brother in law of a member in the Ward. After our first lesson he told us that his entire life he has been afraid of entering different churches but this time all he felt was peace and comfort. We are both super excited to be able to teach him and help him towards his baptismal date of October 18!

That's about all that has been going on here, I hope everything is well for all of you!
Nos vemos,
Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, September 21, 2015

Revelation and food‏

This week was awesome!

First of all we had mission tour with Elder Echo Hawk of the 70. For those of you who want to know he gave a talk in the April 2012 General Conference called "Come Unto Me Oh Ye House of Israel" it's a good read, I highly recommend it. It was so cool to just be able to learn from him and his wife, as well as my mission president and his wife. All of them are such great examples of what I want my marriage to be like and I loved listening to their counsel. My favorite part was by Sister Echo Hawk. She talked about how we as missionaries need to make sure that the things that we teach become totally and completely part of us, written upon our hearts is how she put it, so that way there is never a chance that we fall away from the church. It has become a new goal for me and I plan on working on it throughout my mission and my life.

This week was also the festival international to celebrate Independence Day in Mexico and most of Latin America. There was food from Guatemala, and all parts of Mexico, and pupusas (my favorite
food) from El Salvador. There were also traditional songs and dances preformed by the different organizations. My favorite was the Mexican hat dance my the primary kids. They won't win any prizes for skill but they made up for it in pure enthusiasm. My companion was in the El Salvadorian dance. She did a super good job too. I decided that I just wanted to watch and learn this time but next year, who knows I may give dancing a shot.

We also did find time to do missionary work this week. We set a baptism date with one of our investigators Carlos and started teaching a woman named Maria. There's also a chance we might get to visit the visitors center at the temple with a recent convert this week, which we are super excited about. Stay tuned next week to see if it gets to happen.

I hope all is going well for all of you. As always the invitation is open for communication of any kind.
Nos vemos,
Hermana Anna Christensen

Pictures: the beginning of the El Salvadorian dance, my companion and I afterward, and my zone minus one set of hermanas after the zone activity today.

Monday, September 14, 2015

My internal clock is off....‏

This week was weird. My internal clock has now been set to missionary time, which is Sunday is church, Monday is P-day, Tuesday and Wednesday are normal days, then Thursday is District meeting, Friday is weekly planning and Saturday is normal, and then repeat over and over and over again. This week however we had a zone meeting on Friday, which means that we were supposed to weekly plan on either Thursday or Friday, and that we didn't have district meeting on Thursday. Our normal family home evening on Monday night was also moved to Thursday, and we had exchanges, so this week was just weird. 

However the work is really starting to pick up here. As always we do a lot of work with less actives and recent converts. It's really interesting to see all of the different reasons that people first joined the church, and then also why they stopped attending. In some cases it's for a job, others it's because their family isn't supporting them in going to church. It has made me really grateful for a family who has always supported me in everything I have decided to do, from the school I attended to serving a mission now. It makes everything so much easier. 

This week we were also able to have a bunch of first lessons. It's really cool to look back and realize all the little miracles that went into making those lessons happen. Like with one guy, Carlos, we found while I was on exchanges with one of the sister training leaders. We were looking for someone else, who lived in apartment 32, but some how I turned 32 into 7, so that was the door we knocked. We set up an appointment with him for the next day and ended up having a great lesson with him. But when we first got to his lesson he was in the shower so we decided to visit a women we had visited a little while earlier and invited to an activity. The time of the activity had changed so we went to tell her about it. As we went we were able to hold the door for a woman with a shopping cart. That woman invited us back to her house, gave us water, and listened to a little bit of our message. We have another lesson with her this week as well. I love being able to see all the little ways that the Lord works to help us out as missionaries. I also love that I have learned to appreciate even the smallest miracles that happen every day. A quote by Elder Bednar sums it up pretty well I think, "The tender mercies of the Lord are real and do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence." I can testify of the truth of that. 

This is going to be another great week as well, we have mission conference this week with Elder Echo Hawk of the 70 and then a festival that celebrates the culture of Latin America on Friday. I am so ready for inspiration during the conference and then some really really good food during the culture event. 

I hope this week finds all of you well, and that we can all take a few moments this week to recognize the small tender mercies of the Lord. 

Nos vemos, 
Hermana Anna Christensen 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Just Another Week

Anna's district in the back, Anna and her companion, Hermana Diaz.

Hermana Diaz holding a kitten because it's cute.
I don't really know what to talk about, it was just a regular old week here. On Tuesday we had some lessons cancel, but we did have two lessons with 2 sweet little old ladies. Both are sick so can't attend church as much as they would like. One of them is from Brazil, and speaks both Portuguese and Spanish. The other always gives us Sunny-D and cookies. It's really fun. 
On Wednesday we spent most of the day fixing Hermana Packard's bike. It took us a lot longer than expected but it's working just fine now. We also had dinner with Hermana Padula. She feeds us on every Wednesday and she is probably one of my favorite people I have ever met. She is from Guatemala and she and her daughters make amazing food. She also has a super strong testimony. It's hard for her because she is the only member in her family, but she shares it in whatever way she can with them. 
Thursday was district meeting. It was different because of your new district leader Elder Lane. He did a super good job though. We learned about contacting people by looking for ways to serve them. It was really good. He had us read a talk beforehand, "Developing Good Judgement and Not Judging Others" from the April 2010 General Conference. It offered really good advice about how to make good decisions in life, but not making hasty decisions about others. I feel like it was very helpful and a good reminder. 
Friday we had to go to the 6 month training meeting out at the mission office in Arcadia. We learned more about adjusting to missionary life, handling stress and the like. It was really good to see President Villanueva and his wife. They are both great examples and I look up to both of them a lot. We also had weekly planning which is never very much fun but is still a very important thing to do as a missionary. It's during that time where we plan lessons and figure out how the week is going to go. 
Saturday we spent mostly out on our bikes visiting old investigators and people that have the potential to become investigators. It's how we spend most of our time if we don't have a lesson. It makes me very grateful to have an iPad because all the information needed is in Area Book or on Google maps. It is very helpful. 
Sunday we didn't get to do much after church because Hermana Diaz wasn't feeling very well. Fortunately she is better so we can work hard this week! Like I said it wasn't the most exciting week in the world, but it was a week in the mission field so that counts for something. 
I hope all is going well for all of you, that the weather is cooling down and that there might even be a little rain. (None for us thus far) 
Nos vemos. 
Hermana Anna Christensen 

Monday, August 31, 2015

6 weeks and still going strong‏

A quick lesson for those of you who don't know how mission time/transfers work (if you already do feel free to skip down to the next paragraph). A mission as a whole is more or less 2 years or 18 months depending on how transfers fall. A transfer is a 6 week period of time and is the basic unit of time measurement in the mission. The last Saturday of each transfer is when transfer calls come, also known as the worst day of the transfer. You only get a call if you are changing areas which is called being transferred. If you don't get a call then that means you aren't moving. The fun part is that they don't tell you who your new companion is, just what area you are going to. Then the next day the companion who is moving calls the missionaries in that area to find out who their companion will be and to work out plans for Monday. All in all it is a very stressful night. 

Fortunately we all escaped from transfer calls relatively unscathed. Hermana Evanson is moving to Bell 1, which is in East LA, Elder Jimenez has finished his mission and is heading home, and we get a new district leader, Elder Lane. The best news of all is that Hermana Diaz and I are still together at least for another 6 weeks. There was much rejoicing after we found that out. 

I figured that for this e-mail I would share some of the things that I have learned since I left home 3 months or so ago. 

1. I can now patch and change bike tires without help from my dad as well as other things like adjust the brakes, align the chain/get it unstuck, and take off the front tire and get it back on in under 30 seconds. 

2. I've learned how to use public transportation. I'm still working on the talking to people while on public transportation part but I'm getting better at it. 

3. I've learned how to really pray. I though I knew how to before I got the the MTC and then I thought I learned how to do it there, but in reality I don't think I really got the hang of it until I got to the field, and the best part is that I'm still learning how to do it even better. It's something to work on over a lifetime and I will never be perfect at it. 

4. When there is a problem between companions it's best to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I've mostly learned this one from watching other companionships, but there was one day where my companion and I had a disagreement and it was probably the worst day I've ever had in the mission. The day didn't get better until we worked it all out, and then the Lord allowed us to start having success again. Contention is not of God but of the devil. 

5. Daily repentance is essential. Missionaries are not perfect, not in a long shot, and I know that I'm not either. Something that has really helped me with this has been my study of the Book of Mormon. Right now as I'm reading I'm looking for any mention of repentance and the results of it. It has been a really good experience. 

6. I've learned to eat anything and everything, even if I don't like it, like raw onions. Enough said. 

7. This cannot be done alone. No part of this life can be done. One of my favorite quotes is "because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path--the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are." (Jeffery R. Holland, April 2009 General Conference) I have never seen this more than I have here on the mission. I know that there are so many people around me to help me and support me, and the greatest is my Savior Jesus Christ. 

So there you go. A small list of things I have learned thus far. I'm excited to keep learning and growing. 

I hope all is going well for all of you. 
Nos vemos.
Hermana Anna Christensen 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Someday the bus may come...‏

I'm starting to realize that I spend a good amount of time just waiting for the bus to come, and then riding the bus to wherever it is we are going. For a while we haven't been using the bus but because Hermana Diaz's bike is broken we have been using it a lot more. The good news is that it gives me lots of opportunities to contact people. The bad news is that I am really bad at contacting. But sometimes I can get myself to do it and sometimes it even goes well. Like a few nights ago we were waiting for the bus and we got to talking to a guy also waiting for the bus. His was really interested in what church we were from and why we were doing what we were doing. We gave him a card and our number. He might live in the Elders area so we might not get to teach him but it was still a cool experience. 

The theme of this week was contacting. We have a district goal to get better at it, because it is something that so many missionaries struggle with. (Contacting is starting to talk to someone, hopefully tie it into the gospel, get their name and number and address and not be pushy about it. It is just as hard as it sounds.) While I was on exchanges this week that was mostly what we did. It was really cool to see and learn from someone who wasn't my companion and learn some new tricks. The biggest thing was to not think too much about what you are going to say during a contact, because then you won't do it. The trick is to just go on and let the Spirit guide. Which is of course the theme of missionary work. 

To finish off the week we got to see why contacting is so important. On Sunday morning we got a call from some of the English elders telling us that a man had called them that morning and was interested in coming to church. The man had gotten the elders number from a set of elders a year ago during a street contact and had held onto the card and finally called the number. He came to church, loved every part of it, and we have an appointment with him on Wednesday. So yeah. Contacting is important. Even if we don't actually get to teach them at that time we never know what could happen in the future. Lesson very well learned. Now my goal is to better apply it. Stay tuned for updates on my contacting abilities. 

I hope everything is going well for all of you with summer ending, school starting and the weather beginning to cool down, well more or less. If there is anything that I could ever do for any of you please let me know. I am very good at praying, which can sometimes help a bunch. And if it's another need, to quote Russel M. Nelson, "Ask the missionaries, they can help you!" And as a missionary I promise that they would be happy to help in any way they can. 

Nos vemos. 
Hermana Anna Christensen

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Life is a bike ride on Azusa Ave.‏

So my companion and I usually end up riding home at night, and if we are at la capilla (chapel) or in that area then we go home along Azusa Ave. a few nights ago we were riding home that way and I thought of an analogy of life in the gospel that works with it. I call it life is a
bike ride on Azusa Ave.

The scriptures say that strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life. When we ride home on Azusa we don't ride on the side of the road, but on a small bike and walking trail that runs
alongside it. At first glance the side of the road looks safer because it's wider, flatter and more well lit. But after one ride on it you discover that the chance of getting hit by a car or a bus is fairly
high, and that the hills are actually harder and steeper. This is like the gospel. At times it looks like the world's way is the better safer way, until you try it and find that it much scarier, so we need to
follow the gospel. The bike path isn't the best lit, so my companion and I use our bike lights to light the way. They only light a few feet in front of us but it's enough to avoid any dangers, much like how we can't see the entire plan of our Heavenly Father just the part right in front of it. Our lights our like our testimonies. Unfortunately sometimes our lights aren't the brightest, but our companions light is
so it can help to light our way as well. That is like being helped by prophets, leaders, friends, family ect on our journey. On our bike ride home sometimes we get to coast downhill, pedal across flat land,
and struggle up hills. Sometimes we pass others and sometimes others pass us. And sometimes your tire gets popped really early on the journey so we have to walk the rest of the way home. We are all on our journey back home to our Heavenly Father, and sometimes the journey is easier than at other times, but we all will make it back in the end.
And there is my analogy for life.

As for here, zone conference was super great. It was a really cool experience because instead of just 2 zones it was all 4 Spanish zones and it was held in the mission offices in Arcadia. My favorite part
was when President Villanueva spoke to us. He gave a lot of great counsel to us. It gave me a lot of things to think about and gave me some ideas on how to improve myself as a missionary. This week we also had a super great lesson with Shirley and Christian. We got them to set a date for their wedding and baptism so we have something to work toward with them. We keep looking for new people to teach and keep trying our hardest to be obedient and be the missionaries the Lord wants us to be.

As always I hope that this e-mail finds all of you well.
Nos vemos.
Hermana Anna Christensen

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Good news because of the gospel‏

These are the other hermanas in my district. My trainer is Hermana Diaz, the one in the red shirt behind the Hermana taking the picture. The other two are Hermana Evenson and Hermana Hernandez.

I received 3 pieces of good news this week, here they are in the order received...

1. My friend Aubrey received her mission call to the Nashville Tennessee Mission, Spanish speaking. She reports in early December to the México City MTC, (the best MTC in the world).

2. The ground breaking for the Tucson Arizona temple is in October! It's going to be built on Ina and Skyline, about 10 minutes away from my parents house. It was announced in the October 2012 General Conference so I'm sure I'm not the only one who is super excited that the process of construction will soon be beginning. When construction is finished, the temple will be open to the general public for tours until it is dedicated. Temple open houses are a wonderful opportunity to see the inside of the temple and learn more about them. It's a ways in the future but I invite everyone in the Tucson area to attend the open house at the end of construction.

3. The last piece of good news came during one of our lessons with our investigators Shirley and Christian. We gave them a tour of the church building and talked about the different meetings that happened there on Sundays and throughout the week. Afterward we were talking to them about their expectations and doubts about joining the church. They both said that they wanted to get baptized, but first they need to get married, (couples living together either need to get married or live separately before getting baptized) so we asked them about that and their answer was that they wanted to get married as well! That means that hopefully very soon we will be having a wedding and 2 baptisms
here! Which is really exciting. It is so cool to get to teach these two who have been so well prepared to receive the gospel.

In other news, we might be starting to teach English lessons here, we have zone conference tomorrow, and I hit 2 months in the mission today. All exciting things that have happened or will happen.

I hope all of you are doing well and that everything is going well in your lives. As always I would love to hear what is going on from all of you. The invitation is always open.
Nos vemos.
Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, August 3, 2015

Good things always happen‏

My biggest lesson this week is that good things always happen to those who are doing their best. Sometimes it's a guy buying you and your companion free ice cream because he was trying to break a hundred at an ice cream truck. Sometimes it's trying to teach a parrot how to say misionera while waiting for someone to answer the door. And sometimes it's an investigator finding you instead of you having to find them. That's what happened to us this week.

We received a refural this week from someone who requested the Book of Mormon in Spanish. There wasn't an address listed so we called the number. That was how we met Shirley and her boyfriend Christian. They wanted us to meet with them right that minute but we couldn't because we were on the other side of our area and it was time for us to head home, so we set up an appointment for the next day. Shirley recently got here from Peru, and most of her family joined the church last month there. Both she and her boyfriend are super interested in learning about the church. For our first lesson we taught them about the Restoration, which goes through God is our loving Heavenly Father,
prophets, the Savior's earthly ministry, the great apostasy and then the Restoration through Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. They are both really excited to read the Book of Mormon. Yesterday Shirley came to church and loved it, and let us know that they had been reading. We hope that Christian will be able to arrange his work schedule so that he can start attending church with her. He really wants to so that helps.

I have gained such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon during these few weeks /months here. I know that it is a book of scripture that with the Bible teaches the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. I know that it answers al, questions of the soul and that through reading it, it is possible to gain a testimony of Jesus Christ. I invite all of you to read it if you haven't and to read it again if you have. It is so easy now to do so. It is possible to download it o the Gospel Library app and listen to it. You can request a copy in almost any language on This book can change your life. I know it's changed mine.

Hermana Anna Christensen

  P.S. A view of the mission from the hills. It looks like Southern California to me.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

a few more pictures

July 20, 2015  Anna and her district with their teacher, Hermano Martinez.  This is their last day in the Mexico City MTC. 

 July 21, 2015  Anna with her new mission President and his wife, President and Sister Villanueva.  Below is Anna and the President and his wife, with all the new missionaries that arrived that day.

Monday, July 27, 2015

It's the little things in life...

Sometimes it's good to just take a look at the little successes for the week. For example, 
1. I didn't die. There were a few close calls as I spend a lot of my time on a bike, and well, sometimes people cut it very close. 
2. I didn't go home. There were also a few close calls for this one but I'm still out here. I have learned that I always need to trust in the Lord more than myself. Through Him I will be able to do this. 
3. I did not fall off or crash my bike. Enough said. 
4. I can now get on and off my bike with something that almost resembles grace and dignity. Riding in a skirt is hard. Curbs are my friends. 
5. I learned how to correctly lock up my bike so nothing get's stolen. It's harder than it looks. 

In other news, my trainer is super awesome. Her name is Hermana Diaz. She is fluent in both English and Spanish so it works really well. We are serving in the Rimgrove Ward which covers parts of La Puente and Hacienda Heights. It's divided into 3 parts which are covered by my companion and I, the elders and the other hermanas. My companion and I are both new to the area so we spend a lot of time trying to figure out where we are going and the people in the area. We have some lessons lined up for this week, which I am super excited about. All in all it has been a really good week. I look forward to seeing what this ward and this area has in store for me. 
As always I would love to hear from all of you. I hope all of your lives are going well. If there is ever anything I can do to help you out please let me know.
Hermana Anna Christensen

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The time has come the walrus said...

That's right, this is my last week in the MTC. So sorry, but probably no e-mail next week because I don't get a P-day.
This week's quote is from a great Relief Society lesson on Sunday. "Christ is not waiting for us at the finish line once we have done 'all that we can do'. He is with us every step of the way." Brad Wilcox. If yu want a great talk to read, the talk by him on grace is amazing. Our whole district has been working our way through it. It is great. Also look up and make sure you listen to a confrence talk from May of 2007 by a member of the 70 with the last name of Tenario. He is now th MTC president here and is an incredible man. You will laugh and you will cry. Just imagine and hour long class with him. It's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 
We now teach 2 or 3 times a day. It's a lot of planning, but it's more like what we will be doing in the field, which is now only 6 days away. Talk about crazy. I feel a strange mixture of excited and nervous. It will be an experince. 
Sorry this is so short this week. It's pretty much the same old thing. We'll see what next week will bring. As always I would love to hear from all of you, and I hope your weeks are wonderful. 
Nos vemos. 
Hermana Christensen/Anna
The insanity has really set in here as you can tell.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A birth, a death, and a few birthdays.‏

Primero, ¡felicitaciones a mi prima Leslie y su nuevo bebe!
I was saddened to hear of the death of President Packer this week. He was a general authority for 50ish years and married for almost 70. He was a great example and teacher. I usually never appreciated his talks until I read them and really studied them. This week's quote is by him, "Some answers will come from reading the scriptures, and some from hearing speakers. And, occasionally, when it's important, some will come by very direct and powerful inspiration. The promptings will be clear and unmistakable." He will be greatly missed. The funeral services are on Friday. 
The first birthday this week was the 4th of July. And I have never celebrated so much and I'm in Mexico. The wonderful comedor workers gave us the lunch of our lives, with burgers BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, pie and ice cream, and a flag made out of watermelon, black berries, blueberries and coconut. We also got fully decked out in red white and blue. It was so fun. 
The next day was my mom's birthday. She is one of my biggest examples and my biggest supporter. I though a lot about her on Sunday. 
Finally today is the birthday of one of the elders in my district. We got one of our teachers to get us some balloons and streamers and we decorated the room. We also got him a new tie from the tienda. Later we are going to have a small party with a few of our teachers. It's been a fun day. 
Not really knowing Spanish in Mexico can lead to some interesting experiences, even in the CCM. Mostly this shows up in lessons. For example Christ did not Atone for our pescados (fishes) but for our pecados (sins). God does not want the ladies for you (muejeres) but the best  (mejor). And most important of all, we are not embarazada (pregnant) because we can't speak Spanish but avergonzado (embarrassed). The funniest moment perhaps was when we found out that for two weeks we had been washing our clothes with fabric softener not soap. That has now been fixed and surprisingly enough our clothes actually feel clean again. The elders thought it was hilarious. 
I hope this e-mail finds all of you well. As always the invitation is open for you to write me letters or e-mails or whatever. I'll even take smoke signals. Whatever works for you. 
Nos vemos. 
Hermana Christensen/Anna
The pictures this week are my zone and my district in our 4th of July splendor. Yes that is a Mexican flag in the background.    

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

And it Rained for 40 days and 40 nights...

Okay so maybe not that long, but at least every afternoon it rains. Which is really cool for a desert rat like me.
This week's quote is "If you stumble rise up, go on." Boyd K Packer. This playes into our lessons with Ivan this week. At the CCM our investigators are actually our teachers who act as people they know. So we teach Hermano Aguñigua as Ivan. Our second to last lesson didn't go that well. The Spirit was there but He definatly wasn't leading. It would have been so easy at that pointto just give up and just say that we are horrible teachers and can't be missionaries. But, President Packer's quote. And so instead we rose up and went on. And boy did it pay off. Our next lesson was increadible. It all started when we changed our opening song to Abide With Me tis Eventide instead of Joseph Smith's First Prayer because we could see our teacher was having a bad day. And from there the Spirit took over. We talked a lot about making positive changes in our lives and how to do that through the gospel. To be honest I can't remember what was said I just remember that tears were shed at a few points, and the feeling that accompanied them. It was probably the best lesson we have given thus far. 
In other news, I gave my second talk in Spanish ever this past Sunday, and I think it was understandable and gramatically correct (you never really know). 6 missionaries left for the feild, 5 sisters and 1 elder. Also on Wednesday 78 new missionaries arrived, which doesn't sound like a lot until all of them come to dinner at the exact same time and block your entrace to the comodor (where we eat). It's going to be even worse this week when 100 arrive. The summer wave has begun. 
I hope all is going well in your lives. I would love to hear about anything that is going on. 
Hermana Christensen
This week's picture is my district with one of teacher's Hermana Linares before she left to teach another distrect. It very actually describes the Elde's personalities.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Semana 2

Hello out there! I've decided to start out with a quote of the week in my e-mails and this weeks was "Good timber doe not grow with ease. The stronger the wind the stronger the trees." Well there has been some strong winds here this week. Mostly literally but a little bit figuratively as well. It seems like every person in my district has struggled at some point this week. But we are all moving past it and keep looking forward. The biggest help we all received was a devotional on Sunday. It was given by Elder David A Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve to missionaries at the Provo MTC a few years ago. It helped all of us to remember why we were really here, the reasons why all of us came, and the person who will help us succeed, Jesus Christ. The biggest lesson in it was to put aside the Cookie Monster in all of us (or the natural man) and focus on others around us. 
In other news the language is coming along. It's so fun to just listen to the modge podge of English and Spanish here. The best example was when a teacher came in and asked to borrow an umbrella. When I gave him mine to response was "Muchas thank yous" Spanglish at it's best. Other than that it's pretty much business as usual. We study, have classes, study, eat, study, teach and then study some more until we get to go home go to bed and start again the next day. It's all a part of the adventure I suppose. 
I hope all of you are doing well. I would love to hear more about your lives and what is going on with you. Thank you so much for all of the love and support. 
Hermana Christensen
PS This week's picture is an Hermana Christensen sandwich, which an Hermana Murdock middle.    

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Semana 1

Anna at the MTC

Hola from The CCM, or El Centro de Capacitacion Misional Mexico, or the Mexico Missionary Training Center. The official language isn't Spanish or English, but is an odd mixture of the two. The missionaries use what Spanish they know and the teachers use the English they use and somehow we all understand each other. Missionaries are either here for 2 weeks (Native speakers) or 6 weeks (just learning). We started teaching in Spanish the second day here and it has been an adventure. The man we are teaching is named Luis. Lessons thus far have been going really well. We can more or less understand him and he can usually understand us. The Spirit has been present at every lesson which is the most important thing.

We had 2 really cool experiences this week. The first is when we received iPad training.  Some missionaries are using iPads in the field now, but they received training there. My district is the first one to receive the training in the MTC. We are the only ones here to have them, and we only get them during training, but if it works well we'll get them all the time. The first lesson was really intense because we had about 8 people in dark suits in our classroom just watching us and taking notes. Our teacher told us later that his boss, his bosses boss and then his boss were all in there at one time. It was kind of scary, but also really fun.
The other experience was this morning when we got to go see the Visitor's Center for the Mexico City Temple. It was so beautiful and such a good experience. I would have loved to do a session, but the temple is closed until August when it will be rededicated.
All in all this has been a really good week. I'm learning a ton and feeling the Spirit more then I have ever felt in my life. My district is wonderful and I love my companion. I can't wait to see what this week will bring.
My best to you all,
Anna/Hermana Christensen

PS one of the pictures is of me and my companion Hermana Murdock, and the other is of our district